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Ruiz responds to WBA

Posted on 09/15/2008

(Earlier today the World Boxing Association issued a response to a press release recently distributed by Team Ruiz. Team Ruiz responds below in bold type, point-by-point to the WBA’s five-point statement.)

After learning that serious allegations were made by Team Ruiz after his defeat against Nicolay Valuev last August 30th in Berlin, Germany, the World Boxing Association (WBA) strongly denies any wrongdoings by any of its appointed officials and wants make some statements about it.

1) None of the WBA-appointed officials, including the supervisor, Mr. Robert Mack, noticed that Valuev’s cornermen received judges’ scoring during the fight. However, as our practice, the partial results were shared with the Austrian Commission (the local commission in this case) who locally overlooked the fight. We are not aware that they shared the running totals with anyone.

Team Ruiz 1: Team Ruiz has not claimed that any WBA official permitted the corner of Valuev to learn the running score totals. We are saying, and will use the master video tape of the bout to establish (if Sauerland GmbH, Valuev’s promoter agrees to supply it to the WBA and Team Ruiz, something they have thus far refused to do despite an informal request), that Valuev’s corner knew the scoring during the bout and before the official announcement of the result. This is a substantial violation of the WBA rules, by whatever means accomplished, requiring disqualification of his corner and the entry of a no-contest.

2) None of the WBA-appointed officials, including the supervisor, Mr. Robert Mack, noticed at any time during the fight that judge Mr. Takeshi Shimakawa improperly kept a running score during the fight. Mr. Shimakawa only made a mistake by having altered the fighters’ positions in his scorecard in the last round. He detected this error when he was revising the master scoresheet provided to him by Mr. Mack after the fight. As we are talking about the last round, which had ended about five minutes before, Mr. Shimakawa remembered that he had scored the round in favor of Valuev, not to Ruiz, so Mr. Mack proceeded to correct the result from a split decision to a unanimous decision in favor of Valuev. Mr. Mack showed the scorecard in question to both boxers’ representatives and Mr. Anthony Cardinale thoroughly revised it along with the master scoresheet as Ruiz’ representative. He agreed in front of everybody that it was only a human mistake.

Team Ruiz 2: Regarding the scoring of Judge Shimikawa, Team Ruiz agrees that Mr. Mack, whose competence and fairness is not questioned, gave an explanation to Mr. Cardinale after the change of the Judge’s scorecard was made. This is the first time in the experience of anyone in Team Ruiz that an official score was altered following the official announcement of the fight result. The only similar action ever observed was to amend an arithmetic mistake in calculating the score totals, never for a Judge to revisit his score cards and change the score of a round, and the fight. The explanation which was given to Team Ruiz was that, after 11 rounds of scoring the fight correctly, i.e.,Valuev’s score to the right (or Blue) corner side and Ruiz’ to the left (or Red) corner, the judge made a mistake and placed the score for Ruiz in the right side and Valuev’s to the left.What was not explained to Team Ruiz was how the supposed “mistake” was discovered. We are now told that it was during the judge’s review of the master score card. Why did that review occur? Team Ruiz made a logical deduction and believed that the judge reviewed the master scorecard because he had a running total of his scoring and knew that the winner on his card was Valuev. The explanation of Mr. Mack occurred just as reflected in the WBA’s press release, but that does not clear up the confusion which remains about why the review ever took place; nor does it justify the changing of an official score announced at the conclusion of the bout. If this were permitted as a precedent, then all official results are subject to post-fight review and alteration, something which would have the appearance of unfairness and impropriety, whether or not it actually occurs.

3) Judge Antonio Requena simply considered that two rounds of the fight were even enough for him to declare a clear winner, which under no circumstance is a violation of any WBA rule.

Team Ruiz 3: Regarding Judge Requena’s scoring of two even rounds in an important world championship bout, Team Ruiz has been present at officials’ clinics held by the WBA during conventions and meetings, and has heard the WBA, through officials it has appointed, to instruct the judges to avoid scoring even rounds in such bouts, but to declare a winner of each round, and in the event a truly even round may occur in a championship bout, declaring two or more rounds even is to be especially avoided. Team Ruiz is not making any charge against the judge in question, simply stating their understanding of WBA policy as instructed to its officials. The entry of two even rounds on one judge’s scorecards, coupled with the unprecedented change of the result of another judge’s score, and the knowledge by Valuev’s corner of the score totals is what the WBA, Team Ruiz, and any other fighter put in a similar situation should be concerned with.

4) Regardless of any statements made by any party at this time, as it is a usual practice in cases like this the WBA will review the video tape of the fight again if so properly required by any of the parties involved.

Team Ruiz 4: Team Ruiz has made an informal request, as stated above, to the owner of the broadcast rights, Sauerland GmbH, Valuev’s promoter, for copies of the master video tape of the bout, including the time between rounds, to be given to the WBA and Team Ruiz for their review. Thus far, Sauerland has not responded to the informal request and Team Ruiz will make formal application to the WBA to order the production of the tapes in sufficient time to permit the review before the scheduled WBA convention.

5) The press release sent by Team Ruiz under the title “Decked Stacked Against The Quiet Man’ and the article published on the web site under the title ‘Team Ruiz claims corruption’ make allegations not supported by the facts as we know them. They should immediately rectify unsubstantiated statements.

Team Ruiz 5: Regarding any “unsubstantiated statements,” Team Ruiz stands by its position regarding the scoring of Judge Shimikawa, and will seek a full hearing before the WBA Directorate at the convention regarding the circumstances which lead to the unprecedented change of a judge’s score following its official announcement. As for the even rounds, this is something that the WBA must deal with internally; if it instructs their judges to avoid even rounds in WBA championship contests, it should mean it. Finally, Team Ruiz will await its review of the master tape of the fight before making any retraction in its claim that, by some method not presently known, Valuev’s corner was improperly aware of the scoring before the official announcement of the result of the bout. If reports from sources regarding this issue are demonstrated by this review, Team Ruiz will maintain its demand that the bout be declared a no-contest, and that steps be taken to avoid any future unfair practices of this sort.

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